Gay Couple Attacked with Hammer by Balaclava-Wearing Gang

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Saturday December 4, 2021
Originally published on December 1, 2021

Ryan Winnard
Ryan Winnard  (Source:Ryan Winnard/Facebook)

In a brutal hate crime, a gang of men wearing balaclavas attacked a gay couple with a hammer in Manchester, England, hurling anti-LGBTQ+ epithets and leaving the victims with broken bones, reports say.

21-year-old Ryan Winnard and his boyfriend Max Green, 18, were walking hand-in-hand on the evening of Nov. 23 when they were confronted by a gang of men, local newspaper the Manchester Evening News reported. When the men began hurling anti-gay slurs, the couple tried to walk away peacefully — but that's when the assailants began beating them with a hammer and stealing a phone, bank cards, and Winnard's coat and shoes, among other items.

The couple were walking home after visiting Green's grandparents, according to UK newspaper the Daily Mail.

"We were holding hands and they started shouting over at us calling us faggots and gay boys," Winnard said. "We carried on walking as we had no intention of starting any confrontation with them."

"Before we knew it, there were around five to six lads dressed in balaclavas and gloves running at us," Winnard went on to say. "They started attacking us, punching and kicking us, and were hitting me in the knees with a hammer."

Winnard suffered a broken cheekbone and nose, reports said, while Green was left with a gash on his head. Robbery followed.

"I can remember hearing them telling Max to empty his pockets and to give them everything he had, they then all came to me and beat me up for my Canada Goose coat," Winnard recounted. "They then took my phone, bag, shoes, bank cards, keys — all of my belongings."

After the attack, the injured couple called for the police and an ambulance — but help didn't arrive for more than two hours, Winnard said.

"It's one of those things where we could have been laying on the floor unable to get up," Winnard reflected, adding of the city's emergency services, "when we needed them, they weren't there."

Winnard told the media that he's now too frightened to hold his partner's hand in public, the Mirror reported.

"I should be able to walk around and hold my boyfriend's hand without fear of something like this happening," the young man lamented. "It's one of those things that you never think would ever happen to you but now it has."

Winnard took to Facebook to talk about the shocking ordeal, and posted images of himself dabbing at his bloodied face. "im uploading this post as im just totally lost for words on how people think its okay to target us because were gay," he posted.

"Apreciate everyone that has contacted me and shown your suport to me and max," he added, before addressing the assailants with: "you might of stolen all my belongins but you wont defeat us".

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.